Minister of State Joseph Harmon said on Friday that government hopes Am-bassador Dag Nylander, the Personal Representa-tive of the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Antonio Guterres on the border controversy between Guyana and Venezuela will arrive at a favourable decision when he completes his work at the end of this year.
Harmon was asked for an update of Nylander’s recent visit to Guyana during a post-Cabinet press briefing. He said that because of the nature of the ambassador’s work, government is not “really required to comment on what he is doing. We facilitate him with all information that he requires so that he can get his job done.”
According to Harmon, Nylander is the driver of his own programme and schedule.
Asked if government was pleased with what he has done so far, he said, “I can say to you that we are hoping that by the end of December 2017 when he would have completed his work that he will arrive at a conclusion that is favourable to us in the circumstance.”
Guyana had argued for a juridical settlement, noting that years of the Good Offices process has yielded no result and has encouraged Venezuelan aggression.
And before demitting office last year, former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had outlined in his decision, “if by the end of 2017, the Secretary General concludes that significant progress has not been made toward arriving at a full agreement for the solution of the controversy, he will choose the International Court of Justice as the next means of settlement” unless Guyana and Venezuela “jointly request that he refrain from doing so.”
Guyana then committed its full support to giving this final year of the Good Offices process the best opportunity of success. President David Granger met with Nylander along with other officials from the UN in April.
Relations with Venezuela deteriorated sharply in 2015 when Caracas issued a maritime decree intended to claim areas where US company, ExxonMobil had just earlier made a huge oil find.
This resulted in Guyana leading a diplomatic offensive against Caracas in the region for the withdrawal of the maritime decree. Caracas later replaced the decree with another which was equally unacceptable.